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Sarah Ward

Opening a Coffee Shop: 7 Key Facets of Opening Coffee Shops

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Opening a coffee shop is quite the endeavor. Like opening any restaurant, brunch cafe, beer garden, or bar business, opening a coffee shop takes planning, funding, passion, a good SWOT analysis, and so much more. If you’re looking to launch your own coffee shop business, there’s a lot you need to know. 

This BinWise blog post is the place to get started. You should also check out our coffee shop inventory list. There are items you need to start a coffee shop, in addition to plans and solutions for potential issues. Read on to learn more about what you need when you’re planning the beginning of opening a coffee shop. 

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How to Start a Coffee Shop

The process of how to start a coffee shop is similar to starting any other business. There are some coffee shop-specific steps. That said, there are plenty of things you need to do that are necessary for any business. From the business plan to market research, a business of any sort has specific needs. 

These seven steps of opening a coffee shop will get you set up for success. Each step includes a lot of work. As you follow the list you’ll see your coffee shop plan take shape. By the end, you’ll be ready to flip the open sign on your coffee shop. 

7. Market, Customer, and Competitor Research

Market, customer, and competitor research are vital for every new business. It’s part of finding your space and making sure you’re going to offer something people want. You also want to offer something that is somewhat unique compared to your competition. There are a lot of coffee shops, so what can you offer that is new? Find out, and do that.

6. Choose Your Concept and Brand

Choosing your concept and brand is one of the first and most important things you need to do. The importance of branding can’t be overstated. Your business branding, from branding and marketing to specific small business marketing, is one of the most important things you need to figure out. It’ll shape your business plan. 

5. Find a Coffee Bean Source

Finding a coffee bean source may seem daunting. It’s not something everyone knows how to do intuitively, but there are direct pathways you can take. The best option is to buy wholesale coffee. Learning about wholesale coffee distribution and buying coffee beans wholesale will get you headed in the right direction. 

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4. Write Your Coffee Shop Business Plan

Writing a coffee shop business plan is similar to writing any other business plan. You’ll need:

  • An executive summary
  • A company overview and description 
  • A marketing analysis
  • Business offerings and tangible results you expect to achieve
  • A management plan and ownership structure–this may look different depending on your funding plan
  • A marketing and advertising plan
  • Financial projections and needs

Within those categories, you’ll find the tough questions you need to answer. With your business plan in place, you’ll be situated to find out what you need to be successful. 

3. Find Your Capital

Securing funding is something you can’t escape from when you’re opening a coffee shop. Some of the common options are taking out a small business loan, working with investors, or borrowing money from a friend. Your financial projections in your business plan will help you find out what you need. 

2. Find a Commercial Space

Finding a commercial space will need to come after your coffee shop business plan, market research, choosing your brand, and finding your funds. Once you have all those steps lined up, it’s time to find a spot. This will be dependent on your funds, and it’s important to find a place where your business can thrive. 

This will be difficult. You might want to look into a smaller space, like a parked, re-done bus, or a roadside coffee shack. These will have their own challenges, but they’ll open up your location options. 

1. Get Your Permits and Licenses Squared Away

Getting your permits and licensing squared away is something you might want to start early on. It could take a while to gather the necessary permits and information, and get them approved. Check your local regulations on these needs. What you need will vastly change depending on where you are and what the specifications of your shop are. 

"Key Takeaway: Opening a coffee shop is only the beginning of running a successful coffee shop business. Once the door is open and the lights are on, every moment will be devoted to maintaining your business and finding room for growth."

Frequently Asked Questions About Opening Coffee Shops

Opening a coffee shop is only the beginning of running a successful coffee shop business. Once the door is open and the lights are on, every moment will be devoted to maintaining your business and finding room for growth. That growth will depend on your goals for your coffee shop.

Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you some general guidance and information. If you’re looking to run a successful business, these are all things you need to be aware of. 

How Profitable Is a Coffee Shop?

The average profit range for a cafe or coffee shop is between 2.5% and 6.8% for direct profits. That range accounts for location, what you sell, who your customer base is, and who your competition is. 

The coffee shop industry can be a tough business to find success and profits in. If you want to get the odds in your favor, make your coffee shop unique, and make sure your coffee is delicious. Coffee shops are uniquely positioned to make an impression on customers. Customer satisfaction is the key to long-term success. 

Is It Difficult to Open a Coffee Shop?

Starting a coffee shop is a long and difficult process, but it’s worth the work. It’ll take time, effort, and no small amount of willpower. You will end up failing in several ways, that’s simply how starting a business is. Each failure will be a chance to try again. If you want that chance, you’ll keep at it. The people who keep at it are the ones who find success. 

Is Opening a Coffee Shop a Good Business Idea?

Yes, opening a coffee shop is a good business idea. It has all the potential pitfalls of any business. It’ll take time, and there is always the risk that it won’t work out. That exists as a possibility no matter what business you are starting. If you stick with it, plan it well, and be creative, opening a coffee shop is a good business idea. 

What Percentage of Cafes Fail?

An average of 80% of all businesses fail within two years of being open, including cafes. Yes, this is a high number. If it weren’t, the market would be more saturated than it currently is. We would be bursting with cafes, bars, and restaurants. Persistence, skills, and planning will help you beat out that 80% of other businesses. 

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Opening Coffee Shops: Time to Flip the Open Sign

Opening a coffee shop will be one of the most difficult but rewarding ventures you can experience. It’ll take hard work and the ability to deal with failures and setbacks. If you keep at it, however, you’ll have a rewarding experience no matter how it turns out. 

When you’re ready to turn on the lights at your coffee shop, come on back to BinWise. The BinWise Pro platform, paired with the BinScan mobile app, is designed to help you take inventory with ease. Pair BinWise with BlueCart for success with your order management system

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